July 15, 2019

M. J. Maddox, PhD
is the American English Doctor.



Even in these days of computer Spell Checkers, nonstandard spelling remains a problem for people who recognize the value of writing Standard English.

English spelling is more challenging than that of some other languages. One of the reasons is that English is spoken with more speech sounds than it has letters to represent them in writing.

Spanish, for example, is spoken with about 24 speech sounds. For Spanish speakers, a 26-letter alphabet makes spelling easy.

English, on the other hand, is spoken with about 44 speech sounds, but must be written with a 26-letter alphabet.

Because of this imbalance, English speakers have had to be creative with their spelling. English-speaking children must spend more time learning to spell than Spanish children, but there is a trade-off. English grammar is much simpler to learn than Spanish grammar.

Parents who want their children to be competent readers and writers must make an effort to instill good spelling habits in their children before sending them to school.

They can do this by teaching children under the age of four to associate sounds with the letters. Children four years and above can begin learning to spell with cutout letters.

You’ll find tips for teaching your preschooler how to spell on the American English Doctor site.

Children who begin kindergarten knowing how to spell such words as rat, mug, run, top, sit, elf, and Sam will be better equipped to resist the dreadful practice called “invented spelling.”

Here’s an introduction to “inventive spelling” as practiced in far too many elementary school classrooms:  “Invented Spelling”